learning to eat, cook, and live healthier one day at a time.

Tag Archives: casserole

I’m back!

It’s been about three weeks since the last time I blogged. I’ve been working a lot of very strange shifts and schedules at work lately which has thrown me for a loop, but now I’m back on track!

I have some good Friday Favorites today, but first, there’s something I want to share.

A few months ago I wrote about how I will be running in the Sioux Falls Half Marathon. Well, about a week ago I made the decision to sit this one out. Honestly, throughout my entire training I was pretty unenthused about the race. It never really felt right, but I wanted to push myself through training and run a strong race.

A few weeks ago, about a month out from the race, I started dreading my runs. I was so unmotivated during long runs and it definitely showed in my times. I knew I didn’t want to go into a race feeling unmotivated and unprepared, so I made the decision to just not participate in the race.

I never actually paid for the race, since the price stays the same until the day before, unlike most races where the price goes up like crazy as the date gets closer.

I am a little disappointed in myself. I really wanted to beat my PR and run a sub-2:00 half marathon. However, I just knew something was off, and I know there will be plenty of other races in the near future. I don’t like the idea of quitting, but I think when it comes to fitness, you have to be motivated and you have to be excited about your goal. I was certainly not excited about this race.

Well, glad that’s out of the way! In other news, Mike is coming this weekend! Woohooo!!!

Friday Favorites

1. Wild Game Meats


The photo above is the moose & rice casserole I made the other night. Yes, moose. My dad is a big hunter and it seems every time I visit him lately he insists on giving me pounds of wild game meat. Currently I’m stocked up on ground moose, moose steaks, elk steaks, and venison sausage. I know moose might not sound like the most appetizing thing in the world, but it’s actually quite good. It’s also one of the leanest meats out there. I found a website that lists some of the leanest wild game meats, and Elk and Venison are also on the list.

2. Finnish Coffee


One of my best friends recently took a trip to Scandinavia and was kind enough to bring me back a few souvenirs! I am actually 50% Finnish which is why she brought something from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. This coffee is amazing. Not too bold, nice medium blend. Just the way I like it! Those Fins must know how to brew a good cup of coffee.

3. Weekend Breakfasts on Weekdays




One nice thing about having Wednesday and Thursday off each week is I have time to make traditional ‘weekend’ breakfasts midweek! This week, I whipped up some protein pancakes one day and protein french toast another day. I think the added chill in the air as fall gets closer adds something special to a nice pancake breakfast.

4. Miss Poppy

Image 1

I took this photo while lounging with the pups, Alfie and Poppy, at my parents house in Minneapolis last week. This is sweet Ms. Poppy. She’s the smallest full grown black lab I’ve ever seen and is just a big ball of affection. I could hang out on the couch with her all day, but she’s quite an athlete so I doubt she’d be able to sit still for that long.

That’s a wrap! Hope everyone has some exciting weekend plans!



Good evening! I have a very good feeling that 2013 will bring much more free time for me. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t swamped with homework and other to-dos on a Monday night. Of course the one night when I actually have time to spend on cooking dinner I already plan on having leftovers.

Don’t get me wrong, these leftovers hit the spot. Behold, Cheesy Chicken & Veggie Casserole. I make variations of this dish pretty frequently. The secret ingredient? Fat free cream cheese. Love that stuff! For this particular rendition, I combined the following ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup fat free cream cheese
  • 3 cups frozen california blend vegetables, thawed
  • 3/4 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbs shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Toss all ingredients, except parmesan cheese in a large casserole dish until well combined. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. I topped tonight’s dish off with some marinara sauce and extra parmesan cheese. Yummy time!


I’ve been doing my best lately to not spend too much money on things I don’t need. This means no leisure shopping, no extravagant dining out, etc. Unfortunately, most of my money has been going towards necessities lately, so I haven’t even had the money to consider spending on unnecessary items. I have decided that my first unnecessary purchase of 2013 (since Sunday brunch with my dance team friends is completely necessary) is going to be some type of reward for myself.

To me, setting fitness goals is the key to staying motivated. The goal that I’m currently working on is starting my day off with my workout, instead of leaving it until 6:00 PM when I’m exhausted and the gym turns into bro city. I’m so envious of people who make early morning workouts part of their routine. It’s not that I don’t like getting up early. It’s just that I like waking up early, watching the news, eating breakfast and then starting my day. My official goal is to complete my current 10-week fitness plan under this new workout time. Of course, when a goal is met there must be a reward. I plan on rewarding myself with new, good quality workout clothes.

Now, when I say good quality I don’t mean 150 dollar yoga pants. Not saying I have anything against Lululemon Lovers, I’m just cheap. I have my eye on some Nike products:

Lovin this basic tank top. I also have a weird obsession with New Balance products.

I’m in the market for some new running shoes. Those are definitely a necessity, though. Alright, I’m off to read like a good college kid!

Good morning and happy weekend! I decided to not set my alarm this morning and see how long my body wanted to sleep naturally. Sure enough I popped up right at 7:30! This internal clock stuff sort of stinks.

A couple days ago I decided to try a crock pot recipe I’ve been eyeing for a looong time now. Stephanie’s Autumn Sausage Casserole. As usual, I made a good amount of changes to my own rendition.

Harvest Crock Pot Casserole

Into my 5 qt crock pot I added:

  • 1 lb smoked andouille chicken sausage
  • 8 slices canadian bacon
  • 1 1/2 chopped apple
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbls light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Toss all ingredients into your crock pot, and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-7. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

This casserole was to die for! The combination of the spicy sausage with the sweet apples and raisins was scrumptious. Perfect for the last week of September before we jump into the real fall that is October. I can’t wait!

A big bowl of casserole is the key to my heart.

Let’s switch gears so I can talk about something fitness-related that I’m super excited about. This November I will be running in the Hot Chocolate 15K! This will officially be my first 15K.  I must admit the finisher’s cup kind of sold me when I saw it.

Hot Chocolate 5K/15K finisher’s mug

Um, yes.

Despite the motivation of chocolaty goodness awaiting me at the finish line, I am a bit nervous. I recently broke my mile time by running a 6:37 mile! Some of you avid runners may be laughing at this meek accomplishment. But hey, I was pretty proud! Although I run regularly during the week, it’s usually only for about 3 miles. Nine miles is really sounding like a lot to me and I’m getting a little anxious.

In order to prepare for the event, I’m running three “short” runs per week, and one “long” run. My short runs are 3 miles long, and I can usually bust them out in no more than 25 minutes. Since this was my first week training, my long run was a mere 5 miles. Slowly but surely, right?

The race is still 5 weeks away, so my plan is to increase my long run by one mile each week. I’m not shooting for the stars with this 15k. My goal is to finish in an hour and a half, which would be a 9:40 pace/mile. Just thinking about accomplishing that makes me feel awesome. My friend Tessa is going to be running the 15k , also.

Tessa and I in our Dance Team get-ups

Hopefully we’ll be able to keep each other’s spirits going. Too bad Tessa’s a beast and ran a half marathon last year! Yowza!

I can’ believe I made it to 8:30 without breakfast or coffee. I think today calls for some of my pumpkin protein pancakes.


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